Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Creative Works by Mamma Winger

 Here are some pictures I took of Mamma Winger's newest works at one of our recent art festivals.  Enjoy!

I think this first one is my favorite! 

Her work just makes a person smile!

Pay no attention to the goofball in the mirror.

boxes for things and stuff:

another fav:

here's something new (for us): elephants!

bird made from scrap pieces of trim:

Love this sunburst:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

We're Blown Away.

 We are!  We're blown away by God's goodness.  We're blown away that we get to do this job.  We're blown away that God would choose to give us - ordinary, messed up us - even a glimpse of what He's doing. We're blown away by the bravery, the beautiful vitality, the sweet blessings and the giving spirits of all of you.   We don't even know what all you're going through.  Sometimes you tell us why a message speaks to you. You've got your story and we've got ours.  You see, the very fact that a piece of art came to be is because we need to hear that message where we are in our own lives.  We also create as an act of worship to our most Creative God.  We create for others whether we ever get to realize it or not.  This really kind of miraculous thing happens: the art speaks to someone else too, right where they are.  Our situations may be totally different on the surface, but going deeper, our hearts are both needing the same reminders.  That's something so precious and humbling to be a witness to. That you would share even a tiny spark of what makes you "you" with us by sharing your story, and that the thing that we have in common is the art?  Well we feel tremendously honored and humbled and connected to you in a way that's hard to describe.  Suddenly strangers aren't strangers anymore.

The first story we'd like to share with you is about a woman who found 3 flowers of similar size to hang together as a tryptich.  Here are 2 of them (we don't have a picture of the 3rd):

The reason?  There is a brand new mental health clinic that just opened in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area. The walls have just been painted; they are blank slates - no artwork - until now!  Three of our pieces are now hanging in this new facility, and who knows how or when someone may be encouraged!  What an honor - it blows us away!

The next story is about the woman who bought this piece:

She quietly purchased this "Be Brave" piece while moving one arm gingerly due to the PICC line in her forearm.  She probably never would have said more, except that she was with her friend who leaned over to tell us why she was buying it.  The following Monday - 2 days from then (now over a week ago!) she was having a heart transplant.  Yes.  A heart transplant.  The brave woman joked around about how she needed something encouraging to look at in her 'suite' because she was going to be staring at the same hospital walls for quite awhile.   God has brought this nameless woman to mind many times this past week: wondering where she is, how she's doing, hoping she's being loved and cared for well by those around her.  We are praying for God's healing hand to be upon her and that she'd be comforted through God's people and His peace.

***UPDATE!!!  Emily, the woman mentioned above, e-mailed us with an update when she saw this blogpost!  In my ignorance, I just thought you go in, you have your transplant.  duh.  I don't think sometimes!  Emily explained that she's met all of the criteria to get moved up to the top level of the waiting list for her heart and lungs transplants. And now she is waiting.  She is not allowed to leave the unit because of the monitoring. There are 4 patients in her unit awaiting transplants.  One has been waiting 7.5 MONTHS for a liver and heart.  Another's been waiting a month.   So they all wait, trying to avoid getting sick or anything that would set them back.  She says,

"so that is what I am doing.  Waiting...I so appreciate the kinds things you wrote, that was just so neat.  I have been told through out my life I have been an inspiration and touched other people's lives but until I read your post I hadn’t quite felt/believed it.  If there is anything I can ask for besides prayers is that we help people understand the need for organ donation, that in the event of a death, what a miraculous way to honor the deceased life by giving new life to another.  Up to 7 people actually."  

Sometimes it's the waiting that takes the most courage.   Thank you so much for the update, Emily.  Our prayers are definitely with you as you be brave in your waiting.   

Then there's the story of this woman named Sarah who bought a different "Be Brave" this past weekend.  Here she is:

She heard that we were gathering stories to share and so sent us this email to share with all of you.  Read on in her own words:

My husband and I purchased a few of your pieces a couple years ago when we
were decorating our daughter's nursery.  They're my favorites out of the
artwork in her room.  One of them has a line from my favorite Wordsworth
poem - they're so special.
My husband died a few months ago - a very young 36 years old - after a long
struggle with a traumatic brain injury.  We spent 6-7 months in and out of
numerous hospitals and rehabilitation hospitals - and finally spent our last
week together back in the Quad Cities at a hospice facility.  This idea of
"home" expanded in our lives.  We made home wherever we were.  A few weeks
ago I realized that I had mentioned this concept of home to my husband in
our wedding vows - and had the latin word for home, "domus", tattooed on the
inside of my wrist as a reminder.  So I was bowled over when I saw a piece
of yours that mentioned home being wherever we are (I'm paraphrasing and
butchering it, I apologize).  While I couldn't bring myself to buy that one,
(we're guessing that this is the piece that Sarah saw.)
I did find another one that I love, "Be Brave".  I started a
blog in
the aftermath of my husband's death and have a picture of me holding
So just in the two nights since buying it, my 2 1/2 year old daughter is
talking to me about being brave and what that means.
Thank you so much for the pieces you create - they're lovely and touching
beyond what you can imagine.

Our situations may be different than Sarah's on the surface, but going deeper, our hearts are all needing the same reminders to be brave.  It's precious and humbling to be a witness to the way art is connecting us.  It's hard to describe, but blows us away.  We are praying that Sarah would have much peace and bravery as she and her sweet baby girl begin to find their new normal.

The last sweet story we have to share with you is about a cute little elderly woman (probably in her 70s) who bought a piece with this message on it:

She and her husband are NEWLYWEDS!  Yes, really!  Been married 7 months!  Again: blown away!  They purchased this piece for their home.  Who knows what kind of journey they've been on all these years and what events led them to finally finding each other.  Our guess is that it was anything BUT boring!!!  How sweet that they now have each other!  This message is perfect for them, and we wish them much joy and happiness together!!!!

We don't know why, but lately it seems like more stories than usual are coming our way:  people are going through all kinds of hard, crazy and fabulous things.  It just feels like we're supposed to share them with you - so you can be blown away too by how God is working!  Many of you reading this are going through some major stuff too.  Do you know that you are not alone?!  Sometimes we get a glimpse into your stories, often we don't.  Either way, we are going to keep on this path that God's got us on, while giving Him the glory.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Way to Purchase our Work

We're trying something new.  Lots of you ask if you can see the items we've got available for sale right now.  We've got a TON of items, but don't have the time or patience to get it all up on etsy!  So we thought we'd try to gather some items all in one spot for you to look at.  We have a new section up there on our blog menu bar, called "TWW For Purchase!"   We'll be updating it periodically with one of a kind items that we currently have available for you to purchase!  We'll give a shout via facebook when new items are added.   Go check it out!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Join Us for Riverssance 2011!

We'll be at Riverssance in Davenport this weekend!

24th Annual Riverssance Festival of Fine Art
Date: September 17 & 18
Where: Lindsay Park, Village of East Davenport, IA
Time: Saturday 10 am – 5 pm & Sunday 10 am – 4 pm
Admission: $4

This beautiful outdoor festival takes place on a scenic bluff overlooking the Mississippi River!  Over 100 artists from around the Midwest, live music and entertainment, wine tastings, a free children's art tent with make-and-take projects and a delicious variety of food vendors make this festival a great family event!

Our booth is #7  we've got a great spot! - come say hi!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ARTapalooza 2011

ARTapalooza in Cedar Falls this past weekend was a blast!  We loved the atmosphere, the weather and all of the great people that we got to visit with!

Here are some highlights of our booth:

This show was our first experience using our new Square device to process credit cards.  Although we were a bit nervous about the whole thing, it worked really well, was very easy and fast to use and it's going to be a great benefit to our totals!  

Last year we were thrilled to win the Merchant's Award - which was our first time at this show.  This year look at what we won:  "Best of Show!"  A group of about 10 members from the ARTapalooza committee came to our booth, made a little speech, took our picture, and presented us with a ribbon and check!  Then they all clapped!  It was quite the little moment!  So we hung our ribbon next to this cool name sign that they made for all the artists to hang in their booths. 

A reporter from the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier interviewed us for this article about the event. 

This is a show that really takes good care of all of their artists.  They provided us with a sack breakfast, sack lunch, bottles of water and a trail mix snack.  We've got to keep up our strength you know!  We truly appreciated the thoughtfulness and care.

But even more amazing were all of the stories that we had the privilege to hear from customers about why they were buying a particular piece.  Humbling and exciting to be a small part of what God is doing in others' lives!  Those special stories will be coming up next, plus a look at some of Mamma Winger's newest pieces.

In the meantime, we're getting ready for Riverssance, this weekend in Davenport!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Custom Orders

This first custom piece was for a late wedding gift and of course I had to be sure to include their yellow lab! 

This second one was a family rules that the family wrote up themselves.  It's the biggest piece I've ever mailed!  Some of you may remember that I posted a sneak peek on facebook of the Hug square, and another of this baby all wrapped up, ready to ship, but never did show you the whole thing.  I'm such a tease...

Well here it is!!!  It was a doozy!  2ft x 4ft!

This last one is very special (but they're ALL really special- because they're made WITH love and to SHOW love!  :-)  But this one is special because it is for a young military couple:

They've only been married a few months, got married quickly and were then relocated.  They are just starting out their lives together and have already made a lot of sacrifices for one another.  The wife wanted to give her husband something that conveyed how much she appreciates him and also demonstrates how close the Marines are to their hearts and lives.  It was important that the piece included the Marine icon of the eagle, globe and anchor.   A bit out of my comfort zone, which is always good!  I think I pulled it off....

The Marine Corps' motto is "Semper Fidelis" which means Always Faithful.  LOVE that. Very powerful statement for such few words.  It encompasses both their military and marital relationship, don't you think?!

Here was the Marine wife's response upon seeing pictures I emailed her to let her know her artwork was done:
"OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I almost cried when I saw it!!  It's absolutely perfect.  Thank you so much for the thought and effort you put in to making this for us.  It truly depicts exactly what I was looking for; that the Marine Corps is as close to my heart as he is.  :)

You did PHENOMENAL!!  I can't wait to see it in person."

Aww, sweet words!  Thanks Ashley!  Can you see why we love this job?!  This was such a pleasure to do, as we have the utmost respect and pride for those serving our country!